Category Archives: Family Engagement

Learners reflecting on what they need

As we head into March Break, I wanted to wish everyone the very best. This year’s March Break has come very fast it feels and it has been a whirlwind for us in many ways. So, I also thought, it is also a good time to pause and reflect.

Recently, I had the chance to watch and hear grade 1 and 2 learners share what they felt they needed to help them learn. The teacher captured their thinking. Here it is:













It was a powerful experience to hear and see their thinking. Afterwards, I thought to myself: how many of those elements were present in my own elementary education back in…..well….awhile ago…and how many were valued by the education system at the time? I realised something…not many. In fact, I think I recall someone getting suspended for chewing gum. ­čÖé

“Times have changed” they say. The reality for our children today, however, is that the times has changed rapidly even over the past ten years. The challenges facing children, and families, today are complex, layered and sometimes take everything we have emotionally and mentally to support. This, in part, is why we see a lot of new thinking in that whiteboard above compared to when we, as adults, went to school.

Our school is on an incredible learning journey of looking at what learners need to be successful. We have dedicated staff who bring tons of knowledge and experience in literacy, math, the arts, science, social studies and all the other academic areas our curriculum ask our staff to deliver. Our learning in these areas continues. Math, as you know, is one of our board focus areas. It is the other two focus areas of modern learning and mental health that have really caused our talented staff to dig deep, to reflect deeply and to ask some really good questions lately. One entry point for this work has been the area of self regulation. What those grade 1 and 2 learners talked about above very much speaks to what learners in our world today are finding they are needing to help them self regulate.

Were you this insightful at 7 years of age?

I know I was not.


It struck me too how we are exploring these topics throughout the entire school. Our staff are exploring growth mindset. How do I know? I hear students using the power of “yet” when they reach something they don’t know how to do. They persevere and say “I don’t know how to….yet”. Again, let’s remember…they are 4, 5, 6, 7, 8……

I see staff supporting learners develop strategies to calm. How do I know? I see calming spaces in classrooms. I see Zones of Regulation tools available in classrooms. I hear staff asking students “how do you feel”, “what do you need?”

I see our parents and guardians doing the same. I thank you and our staff for your support and for getting to this point in the school year as it takes a lot of effort. I see lots of things happening that I didn’t see in my own elementary schooling and it is truly inspiring.

I also see students, staff and families asking questions that are confounding them. I also see them asking for help. This isn’t something to ever be ashamed of by the way. To me, it is also inspiring. We are asking more and more questions and asking for help because we truly want to support our students, our kids.

Know that this is not a one stop destination. This work we are engaging in is a journey and very important one.

Our journey continues after March Break. Watch for information our School Council Wellness evening coming up in May.

A short break now, but we look forward to the work ahead.

We wish everyone well this March Break and will see you soon on March 20th.

Mr. Collins




Ontario Educational Resource Bank

To our families,
The Ontario Educational Resource Bank is available for your family to access a variety of education resources.
You can visit the site at
Your family can access it with the following login
Student User ID: YRDSBstudent & Student Password: oerbs)
We hope your family finds it useful.
Mr. Collins

Parent Engagement Symposium

At our last School Council meeting, I shared an opportunity coming up in the spring. The next Parent Engagement Symposium will take place on April 15, 2014 from 5-9 p.m. Sheraton Parkway in Richmond Hill.

We can take two parents or guardians with us to the event.

Please let Mr. Collins know if you are interested in attending.

Mr. Collins